Entry for:2018 Queensland Women in STEM Prize
1. Please provide a short summary of your research, project or technology.
Antibiotic resistance is officially recognised as a global emergency crisis by the World Health Organisation and we desperately need to find suitable alternatives to effectively treat bacterial disease. Viruses that infect bacteria are called bacteriophages, or ‘phage’ for short. Phage therapy is a cheap, efficient and natural alternative to antibiotic use in tackling bacterial infections. My research seeks to use phage therapy, in conjunction with synthetic biology, to treat pathogenic bacteria that form multi-drug resistant biofilms in a range of environments, including hospitals, industry and the natural environment. Synthetic biology is an exciting new field of scientific research that applies engineering principles to biology, using DNA as biological building blocks. My research will build a platform of synthetically engineered phages and their components for use in bacterial biofilm control. This is a newly-emerging field of research in Australia set to deliver novel discoveries and game-changing new technologies.
2. Additional Details
Please see my TedX talk on the importance of viruses in the world's oceans:
Karen is a CSIRO Future Science Fellow in Synthetic Biology based at UQ. She completed her PhD in virology at the University of Warwick and the Plymouth Marine Laboratory, U.K., where she discovere...